With an episode title like ‘Bad Blood’, we shouldn’t have expected life after the big Clary and Jace kiss to be all smiles and happily ever after, and with the quick arrival of a dead – yes, dead – Simon, the honeymoon period for these two lovestruck kids was over before it could ever really begin.
But whether it was Taylor Swift, Bastille or something else entirely that drove the Bad Blood connection, we can at least agree on the fact that the days these shadowhunters have spent together have definitely defined them. And also that band-aids don’t fix vampire bites.
After Simon’s increasing suspicions led him back to the Du Mort and into the hands of Camille last week, he found out he would have stayed human if he kept away. But he didn’t and now he’s dead, and it’s up to Clary to decide whether he should die a simple, human death, or transition into becoming the thing he’s been dreading for weeks now. With Clary spending the day ruminating around New York with Jace, Alec and Isabelle are free to worry about matters closer to home – namely The Clave’s temporary takeover of the New York Institute and the restoration of the Lightwood name.We got a lot of lessons this week, mainly based on the question of what it means to be a shadowhunter, mundane or downworlder. For Jace, loving anything is a weakness, for Clary, love makes you stronger and Luke, as a shadowhunter turned downworlder, has realised that friends and family will stick with you through anything. There’s a lot here for Clary to think about, but it’s Luke’s final plea that Clary make the decision Simon would want that’s the kicker because it really highlighted that all of this – the entire premise of this week’s episode – is really none of Clary’s business at all, even if it is all her fault.
“Since you’ve arrived our whole world’s turned upside down,” Alec tells Clary early on in ‘Bad Blood’. He’s right, but it’s Simon’s world that’s changed most of all because of her, and Simon’s world that’s about to change a hell of a lot more again due to another of Clary’s selfish decisions. So I’m just going to call it: Clary is a bad character, and it’s mainly the writers’ fault. She doesn’t have to be the catalyst for everything that happens in this series, but she is and she comes across as stubborn, selfish and self-entitled as a result.
Having said that, Clary did make up one half of the episode’s stand-out scene. The final five minutes of ‘Bad Blood’ were painful to watch, and mostly because of Simon’s own intense reaction to becoming, as he saw it, “a monster”. Alberto Rosende was heartbreaking to watch, and Katherine McNamara put on a solid performance too, but she was clouded once again by her character, who the writers placed firmly behind Jace’s protection at any potential sign of danger.This is Simon, Clary’s best friend, clawing his way out of his grave, terrified and newly-risen as something he hates and fears, Simon who turned to Clary in desperation last week while she was off with her new Shadowhunter friends and was ignored for his efforts, and she can’t even be allowed to stand on her own two feet to face him after deciding his life for him. Poor show, guys.
Once again, this week’s Shadowhunters outing was more filler than anything else – and even managed to feature another unnecessary and out of place flashback to drive that point home. Valentine made a weak cameo and, for a villain, the threat he’s posing right now is almost laughable. Alec’s very small acts of rebellion are also shown, but appear to be for nothing as he ultimately followed his parents demands anyway. Isabelle at least had slightly more to do, putting on a mini-performance of Shadowhunters: CSI, but short of discovering that Valentine’s Forsaken creations have angel blood in them – which I’m sure will be relevant down the line – she contributed very little again. It’s telling that the best part of this episode came from a character that was unconscious in almost all of his scenes, and while Alec and Magnus both also managed a few good moments this week, a few minutes’ worth of genuine entertainment isn’t enough to save this episode.
Maybe the writers are just taking advice from their own characters now. Jace’s first rule of Shadowhunting says “if something explodes just keep walking”, and right now all these writers are doing are dropping bad episode after bad episode and ignoring the fallout to carry on delivering the same old same old.